The Ultimate Guide to Solar Ballast Systems Jun 01, 2023

Solar ballast systems are ideal for flat roofs that not only have little or no penetration, but can the non-fixed nature of the systems also makes them easy to move when needed. For solar contractors, ballast systems are usually easier to install once they are removed from the pallet and ready to use without pre-installation setup. But choosing to install a solar PV ballast system requires knowledge of the following:

How solar ballast systems are installed

Most other roof mounting kits require holes to be drilled and screwed into the roof, which is not a problem if done properly, as these holes can be sealed to prevent leakage. If not installed properly, the screws can create cracks and splits in your rafters. However,the ballast system is held in place with weight.
This system is where the solar panels are secured to a solar mounting system and then there are ballast trays underneath the solar panels on which heavy concrete blocks will be placed. The weight of these blocks keeps the solar panels in place on a flat roof.

Is your roof suitable for installing solar ballast system

Ballast systems are a good option for flat roofs. However not all buildings are suitable for ballast systems. Several issues need to be considered:
1. Small roofs may require drilling
A big reason why many people choose ballast systems is because they do not damage the roof, but in the case of small roofs, additional fittings may be required and holes must be drilled to secure the roof.
2. The roof needs to be able to withstand the added weight
Ballast bracket systems are fixed by weight, and ballast blocks are very heavy, so the building and roof must be able to withstand this weight. And, although ballast systems can withstand strong winds, the stronger the wind in your area, the more weight is needed to keep the solar array stable, so the more weight the building and roof have to support.
3. Consider the condition of flat roofs
Ballasted systems should make sure your roof is in good condition. It is usually not recommended to install solar panels on roofs with a remaining life shorter than the payback period of the solar panels, otherwise it will be more expensive to remove and reinstall the solar panels when the time comes
4. The angle of the flat roof
Generally the greater the slope of the roof, the greater the weight required. The steeper the roof, the less feasible this method of installation by weight to hold it in place.

What to pay attention to when installing?

The installation of a ballasted system requires consideration of the size and orientation of the array; the physical location of the project (wind, seismic factors); roof shape, height and strength, and the jurisdiction of the project also need to be considered, as different jurisdictions have different regulatory requirements.

While the system will be located on a flat roof, in most cases the solar panels themselves will be mounted at an angle. Mounting the solar panels at an angle increases the amount of sunlight they receive, which allows them to produce more electricity. In addition, the slight angle also makes it easier for rain and snow to slide off rather than pile up on the surface of the panels.
That said, mounting solar panels at an angle also means that they will cast a shadow. If the shadow falls on the other solar panels in your system, it can inhibit production. If you have more roof space and want your solar panels to absorb more energy and produce more power, you can also choose to increase the angle of your solar panels, but this also means that longer shadows will be created, requiring the solar panels to be spaced further apart. However, it is still important to consider the latitude of your area.
You also need to be careful to choose durable concrete. Poor quality concrete will naturally expand and contract over time as it is heated and cooled. This puts a lot of stress on the material and can eventually lead to cracks. That's why you need to make sure that these blocks are "frost/freeze resistant". That way, you can be sure they won't crack into pieces and send your expensive solar panels tumbling off the roof.

In short, installing flat roof solar ballast system requires a reliable installer and a reliable solar mounting bracket. POWERACK will provide quality brackets to ensure your ballast system is more stable.

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